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Introduction: The Birth of a Conceptual Metaphor
Living in the fast lane is hard for a young person, especially with all the choices that people of the same age have to make and the things that have to be done to achieve success. The very idea of striving for success is extremely challenging; more to the pint, it makes one experience the worst emotion ever, which the fear of failure is. As a result, some young people start feeling afraid of living in the real world, preferring different variations of escapism and creating their fantasy lands, where everything goes according to their plan.
The given phenomenon might be considered rather innocent and charming, if not for one major problem: living in an artificial world deprives young people of the opportunity to socialize and acquire important communication skills, as well as experiences of interaction with different people. Moreover, reliving past events can lead to the fear of the future and the unwillingness to strive for success, which will ultimately result in a personal catastrophe.
In the Whimsical Realm: When Everything Points in One Direction
It must be admitted that I did not realize first how charming, inviting, and at the same time mesmerizingly repeating itself the world of memories was. Like any other person who suddenly stumbles over the means to lose the touch with reality and does not realize its power completely, I started exploring the opportunities that the world of memories offered. I never thought that memories can be that addictive; for what I had learned so far then, memories could smile at one once in a while – or, quite, on the contrary, could haunt one for days, making one regret about something done wrong in the past. However, soon they started looking more inviting.
The Metaphor Expands: More Delightful Discoveries
As my trip into the wonderland of daydreaming and recollections of the things that made me happy continued, I started stumbling across new impressive revelations. Memories stopped being just alluring time traps for me; in addition to being an incredibly irresistible waste of my time, they also provided me with an opportunity to make up for my past mistakes and see some of the past events in a different light. On my way to the culmination of my reminiscence, I stumbled across several people whom I felt like talking again.
At first, I saw the guy whom I made friends within a camp; however, when we had return back to or places, I realized that we never exchanged either addresses, or e-mails, or even phone numbers, which was why I lost his track for good; however, in my memories, I could relive the fun that we had during that summer once again. To remember all those fun trips in detail was so delightful that I did not even go anywhere during the entire June and July; instead, I was going on imaginary trips with John once again, thinking of all the good times that we had.
However, very soon I realized that memories worked in a very weird way; not only did they allow for recalling the exact moments, but also see them in a different light. Thus, my memories turned into art tools, with the help of which I could shape the past events the exact way I wanted.
Another surprise visit from an old nemesis of mine showed me that memories can also be by defense; as if using boxing gloves, I beat my enemies at their own game, recalling the dialogues that we used to have in the past and changing them to make them feel the taste of defeat that I used to have when talking to them and being defeated in numerous word battles.
The Climax: Memories Running Wild
One of the most peculiar things about my experience was that the tenser and the more uncomfortable the environment which I lived in became for me, the more alluring and exciting the world of memories, which I created, seemed to be. I finally started understanding that life is a constant, unceasing struggle, whereas memories offer the world where no effort is required to feel happy once more; like any other teenager, I finally got obsessed with the idea of living in my wonderland and started running away from the real-life problems to recall the happy moments of my life.
As my exploration of the dream world of memories continued, I started paying more attention to its other elements. For example, I figured out that the past is putty in my hands, and that I could make whatever I wanted out of this putty.
However, as soon as I started shaping the world of my dream out of the memories that I had, I suddenly realized that my world started falling apart. It came crashing down on me, with every single element of my perfect world working against me. It was not long after I realized that memories no longer help me; instead, the more time I spent in the realm of my memories, the worse my relationships with my family, my friends, and my relatives became, not to mention the fact that I started escaping into the “memories land” from the problems of real-life instead of solving them.
When the Time to Leave the Dream World Comes
Rethinking this experience, I must admit that getting lost in the world of memories is a rather topical issue that can be related to one of the major problems of the XXI century, i.e., the loss of one’s identity and the continuous search for it. There is no secret that in the age of globalization, when multiculturalism has become an element of everyday reality and when a small town features an incredible diversity, the problem of finding one’s self and reconciling with the idea that this self has imperfections is a hard task, mostly because of the variety of choices and the willingness to fit the social norms, whatever these norms involve.
Therefore, life becomes especially hard when one has to fight for his or her self. In the world of dreams, on the contrary, one can feel certain about being accepted as who he or she is. Therefore, the key charm of the wonderland that I created concerns the fact that it does not question my self or my choices, therefore, making the process of communication insultingly easy. This, however, begs the question of whether this imaginary world can help me in becoming a better person or solving any of the problems concerning relationships with real people; and, needless to say, the answer is certainly “No.”
Memories are a grand escape; they allow feeling free for a moment, yet, when returning to reality, I quickly realize that in the real world, memories are not warranted as something to build relationships on, and, therefore, they make the prison bars even stronger. Memories are prison bars; the more times one returns to some choice moments in his or her life, the more bars are added to the cell, which makes the escape even less plausible.
It can be argued, though, that memories can be viewed as a social vault, using which one can escape the troubles of the present-day life and return to the idealized world where everything seems much brighter and happier than it used to be. On a surface, the given type of escapism can be considered the least dangerous of all existing; in contrast to the escapism types that lead to developing psychological disorders, like becoming a shot-in and ostracizing the entire world, the given means of hiding from responsibilities seems relatively harmless.
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However, it should be kept in mind that for young people, who have no major life experience, living in a world that they can revisit and perfect till the end of the days means that they miss the opportunities of getting real-life communication experiences and, as a result, will suffer from social awkwardness to the point when they are unable to convey their ideas understandably since their dream world does not require using such a skill.
It would be wrong to claim that there is no use in retaining memories; on the contrary, memories serve several purposes for people, starting from retaining valuable experiences and training various skills, to creating strong bonds with friends, family members, etc., therefore, creating the bonds that will become crucial for shaping the experience of interaction.
Conclusion: Outside the Realm of Conceptual Metaphors
Even though it could be argued that the story above was told from the point of a drama queen and that in reality, memories can hardly be that hard to escape, it must be admitted that for the most part, pointless recollecting of what has already happened is what keeps people from actually doing something, shoveling through one’s memories, again and again, makes people think that they accomplish something when they have only restored a particular moment in their mind.
Even though getting rid of all memories of the past does not seem to be a good idea, either, it is much more reasonable to consider memories as an old setoff souvenir rather than a treasure trove that can bring back the joy and pleasure of a once happy moment.
I must admit that dreaming can be not only a form of escapism, as it was in my case but also the means to re-evaluate past mistakes. However, going through these painful memories, again and again, does not make one’s experience any more meaningful – instead, it allows us to create another virtual realm, where the past mistakes can be mended in a bat of an eye. With that being said, bringing back the memories just for the sake of reliving the happy moment truly works as a painkiller; however, an “overdose” can be fatal in every meaning of the word.